At present sexual exploitation of children has become one of the most severe problems in Bangladesh. Statistics provided by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) reveal the lugubrious state of sexual exploitation prevailing in our country. According to their stats, last year at least 1005 children were raped and the number is almost twice the number of victims raped in 2018. If we go back a little further, we will find that a total of 3136 children have encountered molestation in the last five years. Moreover, 84 children were raped on an average in every month in 2019. BSAF has calculated the number based on the news of rapes published in 15 different newspapers. So, obviously there are many more incidents of rape which were not reported in the newspapers. This alarming rise in the number of child rape incidents brings us to the realization that our children are growing up in a society which is not safe for them at all.
Well, men who intend to rape children share some common motives. So, it is important to understand their psychology which leads them to engage in such action. Among others sadism, anger and desire for power are the most common reasons. In his book Men Who Rape Nicholas Groth who studied several hundreds of rape cases at prisons has mentioned that individual who carries such psychologies is the potential predator to target the weaker one and vent out fanaticized longings. In the patriarchal society, the men who are deprived of social contact and suffer from loneliness in their childhood are apathetic about the social norms and ethics and they grow up with aggressive behavior. Consequently, they target children in order to satisfy their sexual stimulation. Again, anger linked to sadism can force the rapist to torment and rape a child because predators can easily take control over them. And the desire for power motivates an individual to prove their masculinity by dint of physical strength to dominate the weaker one. Because of these motives a sick mindset begins to form that is reflected through abnormal behavior. Grott has also shared that it was never the act of a mentally healthy person, but always a symptom of some psychological dysfunction, either temporary and transient or chronic.
Moreover, men or boys who experience violence directly or indirectly in their childhood have the potential to vent out their aggression by raping children. Vikramjeet Sinha, the director of Building on Art Therapy (BOAT), an Indian organization, said in a conference, “Man who gets into the space of sexual violence has probably had a history of violence somewhere or the other.” Consequently, they develop the mentality that the society is structured in such a way where men have the power to establish control over the weaker one. Thus they engage themselves in such action.
No matter whatever the motive is, there is no denying that the trauma that a child goes through because of such unpleasant experience is beyond description. Whenever a child faces sexual molestation at an early age, he/she gets traumatized. A research conducted by National Center for Biotechnology Information found the evidence of significant impacts on children. According to the research, the victims face long-term depression that sometimes works as a catalyst for committing suicide. Besides, body issues and eating disorders have also been cited as the long-term outcome of childhood sexual abuse. Eventually, the victim develops a feeling of dissatisfaction with the body or the appearance.
There is a saying that ‘today’s children are tomorrow’s future’. So, when the children are becoming the common victims of rape, then obviously it can be said that the whole nation’s future is at stake. Under such circumstances we should take some serious steps to create a child-friendly society with a view to developing a better nation.